Size Matters for Bay Area Bank

When it comes to ad spending, corporate banks dwarf their smaller competitors. The general result has been a dwindling number of regional banks, frequent buyouts and fewer customers for the little guys.

But one bank is using its regional flavor and small size as its calling card. In its latest ads, Bay View Bank of Northern California aims to distinguish itself as much as possible from the large corporations.

The campaign, from Publicis Dialog in San Francisco, includes three TV spots, plus print and radio ads.

“What we’ve tried to do is humanize them more than the big banks are able to and show how nice it is to have someone listen to you,” said Tom Kavanaugh, agency executive creative director. “Here is a bank that truly does care.”

One 30-second spot shows snapshots of a mother and lists such qualities as compassion and perspective. It then suggests consumers should expect similar traits from their bank. The ad ends with the voiceover: “Some people are just good listeners. Now one of them can be your banker.”

Another spot uses a similar theme, only the skills are golf skills and viewers are encouraged to demand the same from their banker as their favorite golf pro.

Creatives at the agency said they wanted to stress the personalized service and convenience of Bay View, which has 58 branches in the Bay Area. “Bay View wanted to have that kind of positioning—the difference is they really are that kind of bank,” Kavanaugh said. “We tried to bring that position to life. We tried to show that they are genuinely interested in people.”

The spots are now breaking throughout the Bay Area. “Bay View Bank is a community bank, and we’re exclusively focusing on the Bay Area,” said Mark Cornwell, Bay View’s senior vice president of marketing. “It was critical that we found a way to communicate that to our present customers and our target audience.”

No ads are planned for other parts of California.